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Transgender Texas Politician Addison Perry-Franks Dies at 39

The passionate Democrat fought for the rights of all.

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Addison Perry-Franks (Facebook)

Transgender politician Addison Perry-Franks, 39, passed away on the first day of the new year after her wife rushed her to Cogdell Memorial Hospital in Snyder, Texas. The cause of death was unknown at press time and there was to be no visitation, but condolences can be left on the Bell-Cypert-Seale funeral home website at bcsfh.com. Perry-Franks’ wife, Lacey Franks, has a fundraiser on her Facebook page to pay for funeral expenses.

“The love of my life has passed away today,” Franks wrote on January 1. “I don’t have all of the details till the autopsy comes back. The world is a darker place without her light shining in it.” 

Perry-Franks was a passionate West Texas Democrat who stood for the rights of all. Last year, she ran for Texas House District 83 and for mayor of Synder, her hometown. Although she lost both races, she had an empowering impact on the party, the community, and her family.

She explained in an OutSmart interview early last year that she wanted to run for office because of the Texas politicians who were pushing the bathroom bill.

“I had a problem at a local store that wouldn’t let me use the restroom,” she said. “I publicized the incident, and the corporate head wound up coming to Snyder to retrain all the employees and make the chain more LGBT-inclusive.” 

Addison Perry-Franks (l) and her wife, Lacey Franks (Facebook)

Along with her wife, Perry-Franks leaves behind five children, her parents Donny Max and Rebecca Franks, two sisters, and a brother. 

Besides politics and family, Perry-Franks and her wife were very involved in the film world. Perry-Franks appeared in Robert Rodriguez’ Alita: Battle Angel under her dead name, and both have appeared on Texas Flip N Move as well as a music video. At the time she started her campaign in 2019, she had written and begun to shoot three films of her own. One, Equally Friends, is an LBGT movie. The second, A Biography of Great Proportions, is about her struggle for acceptance and her run for the Texas House. Zombie Traveler, her third film, was put on hold for the campaign. 

Perry-Franks sparked some negative reactions on the campaign trail as a trans woman in a predominantly conservative area, but she faced them with grace and a smile. 

“Knocking on doors and talking to people, they’re very friendly,” she said. “But the local media isn’t covering my campaign, and some Lubbock conservative radio shows really went after me. I got hate mail and death threats from that—most of them not even from Texas. But it’s not as much as I thought it would be.”

On Facebook, the Lubbock Area Young Democrats wrote: “Lubbock Area Young Democrats want to extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family of former Democratic candidate Addison Perry-Franks on her all-too-sudden passing. Addison stood up for working people when others wouldn’t. We continue to keep her friends and family in our thoughts during this time of bereavement.”

The Texas Democratic Women of South Plains also expressed their condolences to Perry-Franks’ family on Facebook. “Her determination to stand up for West Texas against so many odds could never be matched, even in the face of defeat. Please keep her wife, Lacey Perry-Franks, and her family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.

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